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Small Part Of South Dakota Dry

July 9, 2014, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Small Part Of South Dakota Dry

Excess rain caused flooding in June, but according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a small part of South Dakota is dry.

There are some counties in the south considered abnormally dry. There's another stretch in the middle of the state.

The total area amounts to about seven percent of South Dakota, but B.J. McNeil farms right in the middle of it. His farm is near Wessington along the border of Beadle and Hand counties. Some of the land he farms angles northwest from there, right along with the abnormally dry stretch according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"Yes, we follow the drought,” McNeil said with a smirk on his face. “I don't know who we made mad; hopefully we can do something to make a mends."

McNeil says he has fields 25 miles north and south of his fields. Conditions are dry both locations. In fact, he received about half the rain he was expecting within the past month.

"Out here July 1 is usually the cutoff day for rain but we're going to need to keep getting timely rains throughout the summer to have any hope of getting our corn to finish where we want it," McNeil said.

McNeil monitors moisture conditions through an app on his i-pad. He has probes in corn and bean fields and says the top six to 12 inches of soil is starting to be depleted of moisture.

McNeil describes his crops as living “rain to rain.” He has been getting enough timely shots of moisture, so far.

"That's why everything looks good right now, but if you dig deeper, we're two weeks away from everything going backwards," McNeil said.

A report from McNeil's fields earlier this week already showed drought stress in higher areas and spots with lighter soil.

McNeil isn't far from a time critical for his corn's development, he says. That's why he'd like the dry trend around his farm to reverse within the next couple weeks.

McNeil has oats and wheat and says just a little rain would help those finish strong. The corn and soybeans will need more moisture throughout the summer.

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